This is a story I wrote initially to get my girlfriend (now my wife – she is the “girl” in the story) more interested in preps. This is in partnership with the story “boy”.
As an interesting note, I wrote the whole thing on my iPad’s note section…
The sun shone through the blinds into the girl’s face, waking her from a deep sleep. A small smile was quickly replaced by a feeling of horror, as her eyes widened and she rolled over to look at the small digital clock next to her bed. It was blank.
“Oh crap!” she muttered, while throwing the comforter off her and she jumped out of bed. Picking up the clock, she followed the back power cord back to the wall and found it still plugged in.
Tossing the now worthless device onto the bed, she picked up her cell phone to check the time. She pressed the familiar button with a little green phone on it, expecting, like countless times before, that the screen would light up provide a communication portal to the rest of the world. This time, she she did not get what she was expecting; she got nothing.
She held the power button down for a few moments, once again, nothing. The charging cord was plugged in next to her bed, so she tried that. Nothing. Thinking to herself that while she may be late for work, at least she has a good excuse and story, so it should be ok. Stumbling into the bathroom, she flicked the light switch on the wall, then rattled it up and down after no light was produced on the first try. Her first thought was that it was a power-outage, and wondered if the shower would work. Turning the knobs in the shower, she was rewarded with the flow of Luke-warm water. Quickly undressing, she got in, enjoying the feeling of the water on her back as it washed away the remaining sleepiness.
That’s when the water reduced itself to a trickle, and then stopped completely.
“Can anything else go wrong this morning!” she yelled to the now slowly dripping faucet.
Feeling less than satisfied, she got out of the shower, dried herself off, and got dressed.
With damp hair, a dry cold bagel, a luke warm Red Bull, and a bad attitude, the girl walked to her newly leased VW Jetta, figuring she could just go to work and explain everything. She pressed the button on her key fob to unlock the doors of her vehicle and once again she had to do it “the old fashioned way” and unlock the door with the key manually. After getting in and turning the ignition it produced the same results she was experiencing all morning. She gripped the steering wheel and dropped her head into the center of it, breaking the morning silence with a weak “beep”. Her heart and mind were moving at a rate much faster than she was used to in the morning, partially from frustration, and partially from her wanting to figure this out. Mentally she kept coming back to things her boyfriend would talk about from time-to-time; she mostly would tune him out or humor him, but not really pay attention. Too bad he was in Texas on a job, and her phone is not working, or she would ask him about it.
She went back to a conversation they once had, it had scared her a bit at the time, but he seemed very serious, so she listened.
“Babe, I need you to pay attention to what I’m telling you, this is important.”
“I am listening, I can do two things at once you know.”
“I know you can, but I don’t want you to mix up what I’m saying with what they are cooking on Top Chef.”
“Fine” she said with a huff as she turned down the show and tossed the remote next to her. “Pleeeease continue.”
Ignoring the little tantrum, he did just as she requested. “Ok, like I was saying, anytime something happens where you might have to leave the apartment, you feel uneasy about something, or I call you to do so, I need you to grab this backpack,” he said as he held up the hard-framed backpack he picked up with her one day when they stopped off in a Bass Pro shops. At the time, the idea was to get her into backpacking, but that fizzled out as life and responsibilities got in the way.
He continued “there is stuff in here that can help you, no matter what the situation. To help you along, I want you to pay a little more attention to what’s around you, watch the news a little more, look at the sky, watch people, stuff like that – can you do this for me? ”
“Of course I can,” she said, giving him a slight smile, but having no idea what he was talking about. “it’s just like how you took me shooting, and at first I was scared, but now I’m pretty good and know what I’m doing.”
“Exactly! I’ll explain what’s in here, and why I’m having you do this later. Let’s just take this one step at a time.”
She took her head up off the steering wheel, got out of the car and looked around. The first thing she noticed was that it was quiet. Really quiet. There was no noise coming from the major freeway only a few blocks away, and there was no subdued hum from the power transforms over her head. Looking down the street, she did not see any cars moving, but there was one about a half a block down stopped in the center of the road. She looked up for a few moments, there were a few birds, but for the time she looked there were no planes. There was evidence that there was a something at some point because she saw contrails that mysteriously curved slightly down and then just ended.
After grabbing her stuff, she went back in the house with full intentions of finding that back pack.
It was not that hard to find, it was leaning against the wall, right behind a big, old army backpack that her boyfriend sometimes used. She noticed right away a folded yellow piece of paper under one of the exterior straps. Pulling it out and immediately recognizing the handwriting, she started reading.
If you are reading this you are either cleaning or something bad has happened and I’m not around. If its the first, give me a call and I can tell you what this is all about. If its the latter, do not worry, I have everything setup for you to be ok.
If there has been some sort of natural disaster, go to page 2
if there is rioting, or other local violence, go to page 3
if you have been warned of a nuclear attack, go to page 4
If the power is out, your phone does not work, and your car does not start, go to page 7
She stopped reading and started getting mad. She knew what this was, this is some game, a trick he is pulling. Get her to be more involved in his “preps” as he calls them. How else would he know exactly what happened to her unless he planned it?
No, he couldn’t have done this, he was in Texas, and the stuff she saw outside was beyond even him. She skipped to page 7.
Bad news, we most likely have been EMP’ed or hit with a powerful solar flare. In either case, things are going to get nasty quick. Basically no more power for a while, maybe forever. This means no more food deliveries, no more water that has to be pumped in, no more phones to call the police or fire department. Things are going to get savage and you need to get gone.
Even if you suspect this has happened, follow these instructions:
1. Get your M1 Carbine and Glock 19. While inside the safe, open the ammo box with the number 8 painted on it, use everything inside. Stop reading, do this now.
Stunned at the details, and without a reason not to, she did just as was written. Quickly identifying and opening can 8 she found a stiff belt in her size, three double-mag pouches (with loaded 15 round mags) for her carbine, a belt slide holster for her pistol, and a duel mag pouch with loaded magazines for the same. The carbine mag pouches were just like the WWII replica ammo carrier on the butt-stock of her little shooter, but this time she noticed the opening on the backs that allowed them to be carried with her belt. After figuring out how it all worked together, she threaded the weapons accruements onto the belt and put it on. Everything but the holster was placed generally on her left side, so she could get to their contents quickly, with the proper hand.
Feeling a bit more secure, the girl continued reading.
3. Get a pair of hiking pants, 4 pair socks and underwear, 3 tee shirts, a bra, and if it’s cold include the plastic bag under the backpack. Stuff everything in the main compartment – I left some room for you.
4. Go back to the safe and get ammo can #10, it’s one of the smaller 30 cal ones. Open it and pull out the zip lock bag on the top that has some maps in it, close the can quickly, and put the whole thing into your back pack.
5. If I’m out of town, follow the map immediately. Yes, start now. Take the mountain bike by the stairwell and be careful, someone will try to take it from you.
6. If I’m in town, but not at home, start filling anything you can (like the bathtub, those bins that have miscellaneous stuff in them) with water if there is still pressure. Lock all the doors and windows, do not let anyone in, and be on the lookout for fires. If I don’t get home in 3 hours, start on the maps course and wait for me for two days at the point marked RP-2. If I don’t show up there, get to the final spot.
7. A word on the map. Reference It only when you have to, the rest of the time have it on you, preferably stuffed down your pants. Do not let anyone take it, the final location is in code, but supply and rally points are not – protect this!
She opened up the zip lock bag and the map it contained. It had numbers, colored dots and other markings that to her made it more confusing and just a big puzzle. After a couple of moments she could see that the general flow of the data was to the north for a bit and then almost directly east. Inspecting the other contents of the bag there were some more instructions in her boyfriend’s familiar chicken-scratch handwriting, and a large coin with markings like that she had never seen. One side had crossed old looking pistols that reminded her of something that would come out of the colonial times. Set behind the pistols was the silhouette of a pine tree. The other side was split into five sections, with strings of numbers in each of them. After spending a moment looking at the coin, the girl read the first page of the note:
Can #10 notes
Electronic communications stuff and batteries – it’s all wrapped in bags covered in copper mesh in a bag covered in aluminum foil that’s in a bag. This should protect it from the EMP’s effects. Do not use this stuff until you really have to and you’re sure whatever caused the EMP is done doing it’s thing and won’t come back. Keep the stuff in the can, it’s there to protect it.
Radio – it’s a marine channel radio, you really should not be using this legally. If you’re reading this, I don’t care about the legality, use it! It is pre-programmed to the channels you will need.
Batteries – I don’t know if an EMP will knock out the charge in a battery, but I stuck them in the can anyways. I streamlined all your electronics to require AA or CR123’s, so that’s what’s in there. There is a small solar charger that you can use to recharge some of them.
Coin – This is a challenge coin. It is used to identify people who will help you and you can trust. If you need to show it, do so discreetly. If someone shows you theirs, do what you can to help them.
She tucked everything back into the bag, and managed to shove it into her pocket. The note said leave now, and she was actually thinking about listening to it. Everything did look planned out, and she did not have any better ideas – but were things as bad as she thought?
The girl put on one of her more loosely fitted button up shirts, but left it unbuttoned and untucked. It did a good job of concealing her pistol and ammo carriers, while still allowing access. She walked out to the street, and took another look around. Off in the distance she counted three dark smoke columns, one quite large. A few people walked past her, all in a hurried gait. There was still no traffic on her street, the car down the way was still sitting there, and it was still deathly quiet; until a barrage of gun shots echoed through the air, not more than a few streets over.
The girl instinctually ducked and started moving back towards the relative safety of her dwelling, with a hand on the grip of her pistol. Moments later more gunfire erupted, even closer this time as she saw two youths jump a nearby fence and shoot over their shoulder with small automatic handguns. She slipped back inside without anyone seeing her, fully convinced of the seriousness of the situation.
She quickly changed into more comfortable, but durable clothes. Everything she was wearing “he” picked out and bought her at some point. She offhandedly noticed that it was all in earth tones, and felt that this was not accidental.
Not ready to openly carry a firearm, she rolled the M1 Carbine into a towel that did a pretty good job of concealing the fact that she was armed like a world war two NCO. The rolled up gun got strapped to the top of her backpack after following all of the other instructions that she was given, and filling the remaining space with some other items she thought she might need. She actually had to cut what she wanted to bring down considerably for her pack was close to full with the items that were already placed in it. Not wanting to take anything out that he put in for her, she just sacrificed a bit and dropped some personal belongings.
Finally she was almost ready to go.
She looked at the map and saw the first place it instructed her to go to was a large park on the north side of the valley. Calling it a park was almost an insult, it held the title of the worlds largest wilderness area inside a city’s limits.
On any other day, it would take about 20 minutes to drive to. She had no idea how long it would take on a bike, lugging around a backpack that weighed about a third as much as she did.
She grabbed the bike from outside, checked the tires, and filled the two water bottles from one of the dozen gallon jugs they had stored under the sink. With these tasks complete, she hefted on her pack, and rode out into the street.
Very quickly she realized that she made the right decision, and that things were definitely wrong. For the first twenty minutes or so, she did not see any moving cars. She did see quite a few in the street, rammed into things, or in strange formations where it appeared the driver lost complete control of the vehicle. One of the worst accidents required her to slow down and walk her bike around the multi car wreckage. As she did her heart dropped as she saw the mangled bodies inside more than one of the autos, all obviously beyond help. There were people running about, but not as many as she expected. They all looked like they were carrying something, and by their body language she doubted that they were the owners.
The first running vehicle she saw was an old beat up truck that held all the implements one would need to be a professional gardener. The magnetic sign on the door told her that was exactly what they were. The driver puttered past her slowly, and yelled at the girl.
“Hey, where are you going with all that stuff, do you know what’s going on?”
In between tired breathes she yelled back “just getting out of town, no, I’m not sure what, happened.”
“You must know something, or else you would not know to get out of town, tell me what you know!” the driver screamed, angling the truck a bit as to cut her off.
Just as she was going to scream, yell, or try to avoid getting hit, the windshield of the truck exploded into a hail of glass as a man on the sidewalk shot into it with a shotgun. She could hear the man pumping the gun multiple times in between blasts. The truck veered away from her and towards it’s assailant, running him down before crashing through a fence. She didn’t wait to find out what happened to either of the men, she just started peddling as fast as she could, trying to get space between her and the situation.
After a few minutes of peddling, she pulled off the street and drug her bike into some bushes that were next to the road. Dumping the bike and backpack on the ground behind the foliage, she started shaking uncontrollably and sobbing into her hands. She stayed this way for a while, her body and mind shutting down while trying to understand everything all at once. Eventually she pulled one of the water bottles off the bike’s frame, took a long drink, and started washing her face. As she sat there she heard more and more gunfire; some close and some far, but all rapid and violent.
She felt better and more clear headed than she had in a long time. She thought of her parents, and was glad they were back in the old country during all this. Their family is a rural, self reliant bunch and she knows they are better off with them than in a suburban house in the middle of a big city.
Getting back on the road was easier than she thought it would be. She peddled on, but was twice as wary of her surroundings. While sitting, she looked over the map and saw a set of railroad tracks that went in the direction she wanted for quite some time, so she decided to head for those.
She got to the tracks without incident. There were more and more fires catching blaze, and getting out of the city was seeming like a better and better idea. She saw the cause of one, and she presumed many other fires: a large commercial airliner.
The scene of the wreckage had nothing on even the highest budget Hollywood movie. There were bodies, luggage and shrapnel everywhere, and that was what was not on fire. One of the large jet engines was missing, but the other was slowly spinning, burning and even fanning the flames in front of it. A row of small suburban houses were decimated; it looked like the finger of God swept through and removed all traces of them. The cost of the pilot-made runway was not only the lives of everyone on the plane, but most likely anyone in those structures.
The girl traveled on, her bike eating up the miles as she followed the compacted earth that made up the service road that ran next to the train tracks. Occasionally she had to leave the relative safety of the fenced tracks to cross a city street, but she did so quietly and quickly.
She knew she could not stay with the tracks much longer, and she wanted to get out of the city before nightfall. The chances of her making it through the night unmolested were slim to say the least. Mentally bringing up the map, she envisioned her route; cross one more street, go about half a mile and cut into the dry aqueduct that runs out of the park.
She stopped for a few minutes before leaving the dirt road and moving onto the paved one. She checked her gear, drank a little water and stretched her legs. Feeling a little better, and sufficiently rested, she turned onto the city street.
The half mile was quick and easy, she passed more frantic people, but no one hostile. When she got to the bridge over the aqueduct, her heart sunk a little bit; there was a razor-wire topped chain link fence blocking her from easy access to the concrete channel. She looked around for a bit, there was a patch of dirt that ran down to the bottom, but it was an easy fifteen feet down from where she could get to it.
She looked to the far side of the bridge, and noticed a group of four men walking towards her.
“Hey lady, where did you get that bike?” one yelled across the open area as a greeting.
“We are tired of walking, that bike could sure help us out!” another joked, eliciting laughter from the others. As he did, he pulled a knife from his back pocket.
She thought quickly, fight or run? I have guns, but so might they… Run!
She pitched the bike over the edge of the bridge, where it fell two stories before crashing on the sloped dirt and tumbling to the bottom of the aqueduct. She jumped on the railing of the bridge, just past where the chain link barrier ended, and began shimmying on the non street side of the railing, using the fence for support. Each foot she traveled removed a few feet of vertical space below her if she had to jump.
The men started running towards her as she kept slowly moving. When they were about a dozen feet from her, she looked down – it was only six or so feet; she dropped. It was a hard landing, she tried to roll with the fall, but ended up smacking her left arm on a rock which caused her to scream in pain, while her backpacks contents dug into her, knocking the wind out of her. She looked up, the men were trying to do her same technique, and were moving onto the railing.
“Bad idea honey, making us chase you. Now we may have a little fun with you before we take your bike – and down there, no one for sure will be able to see us.”
While on her back, she pulled the Glock on her hip and triggered off four rounds into the concrete bridge, right below where the man was trying to get past the fence. He jumped back and dropped to the ground, losing all the distance he earned chasing her. The others did likewise and dropped to the pavement.
She told herself that she missed because she was shooting only one handed, out of breath and her throbbing arm threw off her aim. Not because she was not willing to harm someone to defend herself. In the future looking back, she still could not definitively answer that question.
She got up and ran down the embankment as best she could to her bike. She picked it up and gave it a quick look over. Besides a few scratches, dings and dents, the bike looked fine. As she jumped on, she looked over her shoulder, the men were nowhere to be found.
Not one to take chances, she peddled as quickly as she could for a few minutes, enduring the pain it caused. After a while, she was sure the men were not following her, and began to relax. She pulled into an eight foot drainage tunnel that happened to be dry so that she could evaluate the extent of her injuries.
Moving well away from the entrance, she dumped all her gear and took off her over shirt. Using a small grip-wind flashlight that was in an outside compartment of the backpack, she assessed her damage.
There was already swelling and a slight color change on her arm, just below the elbow. There were scratches and discoloration on her side, and various cuts in numerous other places. Her body ached like hell all over the place, with fatigue throughout her muscles. Grabbing a headband out of the bag, she moistened it with a little bit of water, and touched the cooling cloth to her bruises, and began slowly washing her cuts. After applying some bandaids from a mini first aid kit, she looked out the opening of the pipe. The sun was setting and it would be getting dark soon.
She would not be getting to the park tonight.